Explore the Delta by mokoro!
If you are planning on visiting the Okavango Delta, then hopefully you have a mokoro trip on your list – it offers a different dimension to your safari.
A mokoro is a traditional dug-out canoe, in the past these were made from hollowed out tree trunks, and are an essential mode of transport for those living in this beautiful wilderness. As well as transportation the mokoro was, and still is, used for fishing. They are an essential item for those that make the Delta their home.
Typically they were made from tall, straight, Jackalberry, Sausage and Ebony trees. Nowadays, they are no longer made from trees, it’s simply not sustainable practice, so they are produced using fibreglass moulds. The poles (ngashi) are made from the family of Terminalia trees.
It is often an early morning activity at a Delta lodge that offers water activities*. The waters are still and quiet, the reed frogs are silent, having serenaded you the evening before, but your eagle eyed poler may be able to spot one for you if you ask (they aren’t very big, so it is surprising how loud they are).
As you take to the water in this flat-bottomed vessel, ably propelled by your expert poler, you can immediately appreciate the peace and tranquillity of the Delta as you glide along the surface of the water. Your poler makes this look easy, but trust me, it really isn’t – it is an artform in balance and co-ordination.
“Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human Spirit”- Edward Abbey
As you drift soundlessly through the water channels, eyes alert for birds and animals in and around the water you may see hippo pop up, keeping their eyes and ears above the water, they will keep an eye on you as you glide silently past them. Another highlight of a mokoro trip is the variety of birdlife that you may see, and if you are incredibly lucky you might catch a glimpse of red lechwe or the shy sitatunga as they feed by the water’s edge.
*Note: water levels can affect the operation of mokoro excursions so please check with your consultant if this is something that you would like to do and they can ensure to pair you with the correct accommodation.